For more information on how to evaluate a legal tech vendor effectively, keep on reading.
A vendor comparison, also known as a vendor selection or vendor evaluation matrix, is a system for categorizing vendor features and benefits against each other. This provides teams with a simplified view of all the options available, so they can make a decision on which software to purchase.
You need to make sure you understand your problems; identify your biggest value areas; and ask the right questions. By following these steps, you can stack rank all the vendors against each other and make an informed decision.
We’ll explore each of these sections in more detail below.
Before you even start contacting vendors, it’s important to make sure you know exactly why you need to incorporate a new system.
What can legal software resolve for you that isn’t effective with existing systems? How critical are these problems, and how will resolving them positively impact the wider business? What’s the key measure of success when it comes to implementing and adopting new tech?
Finding answers to all these questions will help you better understand what you need from tech, and which vendors are best suited to help you.
There may be several benefits to implementing a contract automation platform in your business - but which ones are the most important and impactful to you?
Being able to identify these value areas will help you hone in to a product’s features and understand how it would enable you and your business.
For example, you may be looking for a platform that acts as a repository for contracts - in which case, does the platform allow users to mass upload signed contracts? Are legacy contracts automatically tagged and made searchable through the platform? Is it easy to organize and store contracts, and view based on signing status?
Identifying the biggest value area for you, and then diving into the details around that area will help you when it comes to ranking vendors. It’ll also help you cut through the noise of a platform’s new features and additional perks, and get to the points that really matter to you.
The vendor should also be able to tailor a product demo around your value areas.
When interacting with so many vendors, make sure you keep sight of what’s important to you by having a clear understanding of the market, your options when it comes to vendors, and what you want to achieve from a demo.
For example, if you’re looking for a contract automation platform that can help legal enable other teams in the business, it’s worth looking into:
Make sure you record all this information in a tech vendor comparison spreadsheet, so you can rank vendors against each other.
Find out what all-in-one contract automation can do for your business
Once you have your information in a tech vendor comparison spreadsheet, it should become clear which vendors can solve your problems. Based on this list you can whittle down your options to your top three, and make a final decision based on factors like pricing; value-add; vision; support; and feedback from other customers.
Let’s explore each option below.
Pricing is understandably a huge deciding factor when it comes to evaluating a tech vendor. It’s important to get a detailed overview of each vendor’s pricing and structure, so you're aware of the options available to you.
You can add pricing to your tech vendor comparison spreadsheet - but also make sure that your final decision isn’t solely based on price. The other factors in this list are equally, if not more important, when evaluating a tech vendor.
You can also discuss pricing in contract negotiations to see if there’s any flexibility.
Of your top three vendors, you should look carefully at which one can positively impact you and your business, especially in the predetermined value areas.
The ideal contracts vendor should be able to simplify your contract process and reduce manual steps in the key areas of the contract lifecycle.
When evaluating a tech vendor, you should consider the vendor’s vision and culture when making your decision.
If it aligns with your company’s vision and culture, then there’s a higher chance of success and compatibility when it comes to working together.
The vendor should, ideally, have a mindset that allows them to continuously iterate on existing features, and build new features that improve the experience.
The vendor should also have a culture of accountability, clear communication, and a willingness to listen to feedback and come up with solutions.
When something goes wrong, is it easy to locate and discuss the problem with the vendor? Are you left talking to a robot, or able to engage with an actual human being? What are the response times? How does the interaction leave you feeling?
Being able to lean on an active and reliable support team can make a huge difference when comparing tech vendors.
Don’t just take the vendor’s word for it - it may be useful to also speak to their existing customers. This can give you an overview of how the product works, and their experience with the vendor. One of the best indicators of a high-quality contracts vendor is a list of successful, satisfied customers.
You can also look through case studies to learn more about how other companies are using the platform.
With all these considerations in place, and a tech vendor comparison spreadsheet packed with information, you should be confident in your decision when selecting a contracts platform.
We sourced this vendor comparison spreadsheet from Luno’s Head of Legal, Paul Harker. He also shares his top tips for tech implementation - and how the team carries out implementation projects at Luno.
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